Winds of Change
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A little over a week ago, Linden Lab’s new “Communications Manager,” Wallace Linden, penned a blog post titled, “Will the real you please stand up.” The resulting firestorm that followed was not particularly surprising. After all, the title and the first paragraph told people all they needed to know: that the lab planned to move toward compulsory RL identities.

While some might argue that was not his intent, anyone who has taken writing 101 knows that both the title and the first paragraph of any writing sets the tone of what is to follow.

Wallace started out by quoting the founder of Friendster, who decided to “clean out Fake profiles.” That, in conjunction with the title, said it all: that the lab would consider anyone who did not provide an RL identity, to be fake. The discussion that followed pretty much went downhill from there. His whole post, of course, had not a thing to do with the issue of RL versus avatar names.

On Friday, M Linden bailed Wallace out of the blog maelstrom by announcing the acquisition of a new company, “Enemy Unknown” who hosts the avatar-centric web site, “Avatars United.” Mark’s post was received quite well until people learned that there was no means for SL residents to protect their SL identity from being spoofed. The first response was to go grab your avie name before someone else did until people realized that the site allowed duplicate names within “worlds” as well. Still, the rush brought the site to its knees.

By Saturday evening, we had lost a well-respected and loved long-time resident from the steampunk community, Ordinal Malaprop. Exclusive of the loss of technical expertise and amazing builds this individual brought to second life, they also decided to shut down their blog, which chronicled their journey in the second life landscape.

On Sunday morning, Ordinal, posted a blog post explaining their decision. Since that time, they are considering keeping their blog open. By Sunday evening, the excitement over the new acquisition had all but died down, and various people began spamming group invites.

By Monday, as unrest among residents grew, another blog post was made. This time by Blue Linden regarding the closing of the SL vbulletin forums. His post didn’t really say much, outside of noting that the old forums would be shuttered on February 9th, and that the new forums, what some are calling blogrums due to the blog-ish layout, would be managed by Jive.

Yoz Linden then began a thread, laying out the alleged technical reason for the decision, while noting they “chose Jive as a software partner for several reasons.” Although Yoz did not raise the OpenID issue in the thread introduction, they had noted so in a jira post earlier that day.

The resulting firestorm broke out once more. This time, with comments fielded by Blue, Yoz, and Lexie Linden, with one of their paid testers throwing his two-cents of praise and slurpage in for good measure, while they play-pretended they were listening to their customers by asking him to start a jira.

Regardless of the outrage of people who feel like they are losing their home, Blue Linden has since repeatedly stated:

“I’d also like to reiterate that this move is a time-sensitive one.”

Almost to the point that it seems like a mantra.

Of course, the context of what he is referring to is anyone’s guess. As a techie, I’m left pondering what technical thing could result in a time-sensitive shuttering of the old forums?

Is vbulletin expiring licensure of older forums, now that they’ve moved on to 4.0? A quick look at their information page, says, no. They’re not expiring license, though, they do note they no longer support older versions of their product. But that announcement was nearly a month ago and it referred to 3.6 and up. Clearly, the lab’s 3.0 version aged out of the vbulletin support window years ago.

Some have suggested that the lab is moving its co-location facility. Again, it seems that “just changing” co-los, would not warrant this time crunch. Especially considering the time crunch is now less than a week away.

I have my opinions but you know what they say about those. So, I will let you ponder the following:

M Linden has stated that he will be holding office hours with various individuals who responded to his 2010 new years post.

Viewer 2.0 is due out sometime this quarter.

Wallace Linden was hired as the SL communications manager.

Jack Linden announced that the Linden Home program is scheduled to officially launch on February 17th.

Wallace Linden made a blog post about identity.

M Linden announced the acquisitioning of “Unknown Enemy”

The announcement of the shuttering of the forums came seemingly on the heels of the acquisition announcement.

Yoz’s jira posts indicates that the pending implementation of OpenID plays a role in the shuttering of the forums.

We have been told that the primary reason for shuttering the old forums at this time is of a time critical nature.

All things considered, and in light of recent events, the winds of change are indeed upon SL. The question remains, just which way are these winds blowing?

3 Comments

  1. Commentsbrinda Allen   |  Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 05:00

    God…The only thing I hate worse than change is uncertainty.
    All the secrecy involved in business decisions that at first blush don't seem to involve proprietary information just seems like inmates running the asylum.

  2. CommentsAngela   |  Wednesday, 03 February 2010 at 05:32

    I agree. We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the other shoe keeps dropping and dropping and dropping. They clearly have several feet. The thing that Blue keeps hinting at disturbs me. Not just that he's being cryptic but that he keeps repeating it, as if he's trying to warn us of something, without letting the cat out of the bag.

  3. CommentsElvina Mcveigh   |  Wednesday, 24 February 2010 at 23:53

    Definitely agree with what you stated. Your explanation was certainly the easiest to understand. I tell you, I usually get irked when folks discuss issues that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail right on the head and explained out everything without complication. Maybe, people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

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